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June 27 lava flow comes to an end

June 15, 2016 - 10:29am

The lava flow that menaced Pahoa and the rest of lower Puna has come to an end.

Geologists estimate the “June 27” flow, named for the date it started on Kilauea’s Pu‘u ‘O‘o vent in 2014, ceased June 6, said Janet Babb, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman.

While it recently remained largely confined within 5 miles of the vent, the flow had reached into Pahoa about 14 miles away, setting off a state of emergency nearly two years ago. The flow destroyed one house and put Highway 130, the lifeline for lower Puna, at risk.

Thanks to breakouts upslope, the flow reset itself closer to the vent where it remained until new flows emerged May 24 and began siphoning its supply.

Only one of those two flows remain active, and lava is currently heading southeast away from populated areas.

Scientists say it might eventually reach the coastline and dip into the ocean. Babb said it will likely not make it that far in one pass.

As of last week, the flow was 1.7 miles long and about 4.6 miles from the coastline as the crow flies. It also was about halfway to the top of Pulama pali.

The last time lava entered the ocean was August 2013, Babb said.

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Power pole barriers to be removed

Barriers Hawaii Electric Light Co. installed around power poles in Pahoa to protect them from lava will come down next week.

The experimental effort, which involved wrapping poles with cinder rock and insulation, was used along Pahoa Village Road and Cemetery Road in 2014 as the June 27 lava flow neared the town.

The flow, which has been active only near the Pu‘u ‘O‘o vent for more than the past year, has been declared officially dead.

HELCO said it will partially close Pahoa Village Road between Apa‘a Street and Post Office Road from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. That section of the road will be completely closed from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Utility infrastructure also will be relocated.

Temporary power interruptions might occur while the work is being performed, HELCO said.

It’s not clear if the barriers around the poles on Cemetery Road also will be removed.

For questions or concerns, call 969-6666.

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